American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet and hardens when heated, consisting primarily of hydrated silicates of aluminum and widely used in making bricks, tiles, and pottery.
- n. A hardening or nonhardening material having a consistency similar to clay and used for modeling.
- n. Geology A sedimentary material with grains smaller than 0.002 millimeters in diameter.
- n. Moist sticky earth; mud.
- n. The human body as opposed to the spirit.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The material resulting from the decomposition and consequent hydration of the feldspathic rocks, especially granite and gneiss, and of the crystalline rocks in general. As thus formed, it almost always contains more or less sand, or silicious material, mechanically intermixed. After this has been separated, the clay itself is found to consist of a hydrated silicate of alumina, but it is not yet positively made out that there is one definite combination of this kind constituting the essential basis of all the substances to which the name clay is applied. All clays contain hygroscopic water, which may be expelled by heating to 212° F.; but they also contain water in chemical combination, and when this is driven off by ignition the clay loses its plasticity, which cannot be restored. Ordinary clay contains more or less lime and other impurities, which render it to a certain extent fusible. The purer varieties are refractory, and are known as fire-clay (which see). (See also pipe-clay, china-clay, porcelain-clay, and kaolinite.) The plasticity of clay is of great importance, as without this quality it could not be easily worked into the various shapes for which it is used. On what condition it depends has not as yet been clearly made out.
- n. Earth in general, especially in the Scriptures, as the material from which, according to the account in Genesis, the body of the first man was formed.
- n. . Moist earth; mud; slime.
- n. . Any viscous plastic mixture used as mortar or cement.
- n. The human body; especially, a dead body.
- n. Figuratively, anything which is easily molded, shaped, or influenced.
- Formed or consisting of clay; characterized by the presence of clay; clayey: as, a clay soil; a clay hovel.
- To cover or manure with clay.
- To purify and whiten with clay, as sugar.
- To puddle with clay.
- n. A mineral substance made up of small crystals of silica and alumina, that is ductile when moist; the material of pre-fired ceramics.
- n. An earth material with ductile qualities.
- n. tennis A tennis court surface.
- n. biblical The material of the human body.
- n. geology A particle less than 3.9 microns in diameter, following the Wentworth scale
- v. transitive To add clay to, to spread clay onto.
- v. transitive To purify using clay.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A soft earth, which is plastic, or may be molded with the hands, consisting of hydrous silicate of aluminium. It is the result of the wearing down and decomposition, in part, of rocks containing aluminous minerals, as granite. Lime, magnesia, oxide of iron, and other ingredients, are often present as impurities.
- n. (Poetry & Script.) Earth in general, as representing the elementary particles of the human body; hence, the human body as formed from such particles.
- v. To cover or manure with clay.
- v. To clarify by filtering through clay, as sugar.
- n. water soaked soil; soft wet earth
- n. a very fine-grained soil that is plastic when moist but hard when fired
- n. the dead body of a human being
- n. United States politician responsible for the Missouri Compromise between free and slave states (1777-1852)
- n. United States general who commanded United States forces in Europe from 1945 to 1949 and who oversaw the Berlin airlift (1897-1978)
- From Middle English clay, cley, from Old English clǣġ ("clay"), from Proto-Germanic *klajjaz (“clay”), from Proto-Indo-European *glei- (“to glue, paste, stick together”). Cognate with Dutch klei ("clay"), Low German klei ("clay"), German Klei, Danish klæg ("clay"); compare Ancient Greek γλία (glía), Latin glūs ("glue"). Related also to clag, clog. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English clei, from Old English clæg. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The operation of mining clay from the clay pit or quarry is generally referred to as winning the clay.”
“If it is nearly all clay it is a _clay loam_; if there is much sand it is a _sandy loam_.”
“The term clay refers to a number of earthy materials that are composed of minerals rich in alumina, silica and water.”
“If your soil can't hold water, hauling in clay is an option, though an expensive one.”
“As one of the artists remarks: "A whole family working in clay is like a plant that eternally flowers.”
“Roman a clef say: ro-man' ah clay is French for "we say we're making this all up but it's really true now guess who they are".”
“We can beat anyone on any surface, but still, I think the clay is our favorite surface," Bob Bryan said.”
“The top of the sugar is then covered with a sort of black thick mud, which they call clay, and which is several times renewed as it becomes dry.”
“Lovely mirrors and I too would like to get my “hands in clay” and on pottery more”
“There is something aluring about working in clay and then firing it.”
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